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This Week in Legacy: Five Legacy Decks for Eternal Weekend 2021

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of This Week in Legacy! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're going to be checking out five decks that newer players could pick up for Legacy Eternal Weekend this coming weekend! As of this posting, the All Access Tokens are now available on Magic Online so it's time to get practicing! We've also got a look at a few cards from Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander as well as data from the Sunday Challenge. Of course, we always have our Spice Corner.

With that being said, let's get right to it!

Five Legacy Decks for Eternal Weekend

Eternal Weekend 2021 Online is upon us this weekend, and with an eye on that we're going to take a look at five decks that new players can get into to learn the format with. For only $25 entry into one of the events, you can start playing with every card on Magic Online up to December 1st. Just like last year, there are three different events to choose from, each one winning a different full art card painting. You can find the list of all the events and their times over here. Of course, with the All Access Token you can also play in Leagues, Challenges, etc. Not just in the Eternal Weekend events, so you can get a lot of practice!

Because these events have the benefit of the All Access we're going to focus solely on five decks that provide strong success but also are recommendable to players newer to the format. This list is in no particular order so this isn't like a Top 5 list. There are plenty of other decks as well beyond these five, so it's a great idea to check out the Goldfish Legacy deck pages and see if anything really speaks to you!

#1 - UR Delver / UR Saga

If you're playing a deck with Brainstorm + Ponder in it, then you have a pretty solid shot at winning a Legacy Open. These decks teach a fundamental skill of understanding the format at large in how to sequence cantrips and how to deploy countermagic and threats. The obvious current best contender for this is the URx Tempo/Delver shells that exist in the current format.

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Delver style decks provide a solid footing for players newer to the format who may already have some experience with the casting and sequencing of cantrips in other formats. For example, Pauper often has a lot of play with Ponder and Brainstorm that players of that format can translate those skills to a Delver style deck in Legacy with ease. Delver style decks also have a reasonably well defined game plan of deploying threats and protecting them that players newer to the format can easily grok.

That being said, Delver style decks do have a really high skill ceiling and it is very easy to see the differences between a skilled Delver master and a newer player to the deck, but don't let that dissuade you! The power level of this deck is strong and that alone can account for a lot of strong plays.

The current incarnations of the URx Tempo shell that is the best and most widely accepted is the UR Delver shell, utilizing newer threats such as Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Murktide Regent. However, as of late we have also seen a deviation of this deck that I would also recommend in the URx Saga variants.

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Championed primarily by a lot of MTGO's youngest players (many of whom are in their teens still), this version of the URx shell has a bit more of a midrange-esque aspect to it that is presented by the power level of the card Urza's Saga. It has a much higher capability of grinding out games long-term which makes it very strong.

Thankfully for both of these decks there are plenty of solid resources out there to watch, as one of the nice things about being one of the more popular decks in the format is that there is more content available for said deck. Strong Delver players such as silviawataru and Rich Cali (our good friend over at CFB) are accomplished and make great content with the decks. You can also find some solid information on the UR Saga variants over at Isaac Bullwinkle's Twitter feed.

Content you can watch:

#2 - 8-Cast

On the opposite end of the spectrum we have a relatively "newer" deck that has consistently and constantly evolved with the format. Originally this shell was known as Karn Echo/Urza Echo/Urza Stompy (whatever you wanted to call it) and had a lot of action in the abuse of the power of Echo of Eons and Narset, Parter of Veils/Hullbreacher. Once Modern Horizons 2 released, this deck shifted immensely, closely getting to a point where many of the shells have completely dropped the Echo plan for a more grindy powerful game plan involving cards like Thought Monitor and Emry, Lurker of the Loch.

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What is great about this deck is that it has a lot of powerful and broken starts and a lot of its primary skill lies in sequencing artifacts and threats. If you've ever played a deck that wants to assemble mana quickly or a deck that regularly plays Urza's Saga in other formats, then this deck might be something to look at. At its core, this is technically considered a "blue" deck in that it does play Force of Will, but not the Cantrip Cartel. The addition of Forces allows the deck to have game versus the combo decks of the format while also being able to protect its game plan versus fair decks.

The most powerful thing about this deck is Urza's Saga. This card is extremely flexible and strong, and in Legacy it gains the added benefit of being able to tutor up silver bullets like Retrofitter Foundry, which is another very strong card in this deck. This deck has some of the biggest potential for Construct size in the format, as it is not uncommon for two Constructs to close out a game within a single turn of each other at being 8/8s or higher.

The upside of this deck is the power level it has versus many of the more popular decks of the current format (i.e. URx Tempo shells) due to the fact that it has so much velocity and cards like Chalice of the Void. While Chalice has some issues due to Prismatic Ending seeing play, it is still a very powerful way to attack Brainstorm shells because they have to be able to answer it.

The downside of playing this kind of deck is not having a ton of ways to manipulate the top card of your deck like Brainstorm decks do, but you can draw a lot of extra cards with Bauble effects. Another downside is that much of the hate that targets this kind of deck can be extremely back-breaking against it.

Content you can watch:

#3 - Death and Taxes

D&T is another extremely strong strategy right now in the current format, thanks to how well the deck is positioned in its current incarnation versus the blue decks of the format. A lot of this deck's strengths comes from knowing the deck well and knowing the deckbuilding of the deck as well. I could not easily recommend this to a newer player the format without pointing out the fact that there is an amazing resource for this version of the deck by our good friend John Ryan Hamilton (xJCloud) over here on MinMaxBlog. Seriously, spend a lot of time reading this if you plan to play this deck. Your time will be worth it.

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If you're already familiar with some measure of hatebear type strategy in other formats then this is a great deck to help transition those skills into and is one of the purest exceptions to the rule of "play Brainstorm if you want to win". That being said, D&T has a lot of difficult interactions and format understanding is needed to really do well with this deck. This deck really requires a lot of practice and talking to other D&T players to know how to proceed within a game. 

However, it is also one of the most rewarding decks when everything all comes together for you, and it has one of the grindiest game plans in the entire format currently.

I cannot express enough though on how important it is to read the article by xJCloud though. It really does answer all of the questions one might have about the current version of the deck.

Content you can watch:

#4 - 4C Control

If you're more of a Midrange/Control player and you like casting cards like Uro and Endurance and Brainstorm, then the 4C/Bant Control variants might be up your alley. These decks play slow and grindy games, preferring to build their mana and reactively deal with the opponent's game plan until it is time to turn the corner and start winning the game.

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The more current versions of these decks are 4C variants, leaning into Bant splashing red for cards like Expressive Iteration and sideboard effects such as Pyroblast / Red Elemental Blast. The hardest part of this deck outside of the normal aspects of sequencing cantrips is sequencing mana. The mana in these decks is fairly greedy and fragile and if you're cut off of a color it can be pretty brutal.

However, once your mana engine is humming you can really take over a game with this type of deck, eventually putting yourself in a position to win. That being said, this deck's biggest enemy is the clock, because of how long games can often go with the deck. It is important that if you're planning on playing this to really practice your speed of play and to learn how to sequence turns ahead in your mind so as to not waste time with them. This can be difficult especially if you're not used to MTGO in general.

This can be a pretty rewarding deck however, as it is great when everything lines up and many of the games these kinds of decks play can be fun and interactive.

Content you can watch:

#5 - GW Depths

For another non-blue entry in the list, we have the current incarnations of the Dark Depths combo lists in GW Depths. If you've ever played anything in other formats like Amulet, Valakut, etc. This is a deck that is worth looking at in Legacy for you.

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At its core, this is a combo deck that seeks to utilize the cards Dark Depths and Thespian's Stage in order to put a 20/20 Marit Lage into play to end the game. However, this version of the deck has a lot more subtle gameplay than that, thanks to cards like Elvish Reclaimer and Knight of the Reliquary. This deck is more of a GW Toolbox variant with access to various powerful spells and other creatures that can win the game outside of the combo.

The biggest reason to play this deck over any of the traditional Golgari colored versions of Depths is the access it gains to powerful removal such as Swords to Plowshares and Prismatic Ending, as those cards deal with threats such as Murktide Regent and most notably Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer. Ragavan versus the traditional Golgari lists runs a huge risk of Ragavan snagging a piece of the combo or even a Discard spell which can be turned against the Depths player. Being able to more flexibly answer the card while being strong against other threats is a solid plus in favor of being in GW.

Content you can watch:

Crimson Vow Commander Cards

We had the spoilers for the Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander sets last week after the full set was spoiled. Typically these sets have a few interesting tidbits to play around with. The unfortunate aspect of these cards we're going to be talking about is that for right now, neither of them are actually on Magic Online. This is a whole other topic that I want to cover at some point, but the fact that these Commander cards quite often don't get added to MTGO is pretty annoying. These might be added in the future, or they may never be added at all. We did just get Laelia, the Blade Reforged added not too long ago, so I'm hopeful.

Haunting Imitation

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

There was a lot of hubbub about this card, specifically in how it could be used in Show and Tell shells as extra copies of the card. I wasn't initially sold on this card, and I'm still pretty iffy on it. It has a lot of similarities with Arcane Artisan in a sense, but it requires a fair amount of setup to be really good, and occasionally randomly sniping something off the top of your opponent's library is pretty interesting. I'd rather see this in its own shell where you can use cards to manipulate the top card of your deck but also potentially the top card of your opponent's deck (The RETURN OF Portent!) and cards like Predict.

I suspect in the long run this might not be good enough because some of the best Show and Tell decks really want to put Omniscience into play and hard cast their Emrakul, but building around this card could be interesting enough to be fun.

Shadowgrange Archfiend

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This is the one card that I'm actually fairly upset isn't on MTGO just yet. This is a pretty solid sideboard option for the Madness Aggro decks as it deals with quite a few different threats, the primary of which is being able to cleanly deal with Marit Lage. This is probably still pretty rough against decks with Murktide Regent, as those decks will be able to counter this more than likely, and having this countered really stinks, but being able to kill a Marit Lage through protection like Sejiri Steppe and even if they have other creatures in play (since those will likely not be bigger than Marit) and then gain 12 life functionally is pretty solid. At the same time, this being an 8/4 is a strong clock if they have no way of dealing with it and even in the Murktide matchups it can't be bolted once to kill it. This is a fun card that I'm hopeful gets added soon because it does add some unique counterplay to this deck.

Legacy Challenge 11/14

As the Saturday Challenge is on permanent-ish hiatus from firing it seems, we are at least still getting the Sunday event to fire. This weekend it fired with 79 players thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project.

You can find all of the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

Delver was not the most popular deck here, but it was one of the best performing variants in the event. 4C Control variants were more popular overall but had a sub par performance. The Jeskai Ragavan deck had a solid performance as well (as we will also see in the Top 8), and Elves also did very well.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Ragavan 1st kiyoaggro
UR Delver 2nd JPA93
Bant Control 3rd Thalai
Bant Control 4th kauffj
Jeskai Ragavan 5th HJ_Kaiser
Doomsday 6th Fuz65
BUG Control 7th Gernardi
Elves 8th runkor

Definitely an interesting Top 8 with a lot of both Control and Tempo strategies present. At the end of the event however it was kiyoaggro on Jeskai Ragavan that took it all down.

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Very powerful list overall here. The flexibility of the white removal is what makes this variant interesting, and no Sagas in this list means it is free to hedge against it in the sideboard with cards like Alpine Moon.

The Second Place list was JPA93 on UR Delver.

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This is what we've come to expect out of the existing stock list archetypes. The Blood Moon in the sideboard is super spicy, but makes a lot of sense given how many cards cost red in the list. Gut Shot is a strong hedge against other Ragavan decks.

Down the Top 8 we've got World Champion Javier Dominguez coming in Third Place with Bant Control.

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This leans more into the Lands category but it is basically a Bant Control deck with Life from the Loam and Exploration, which is super sweet. Recurring Urza's Saga with Loam is ultra groovy.

Down near the bottom of the Top 8 we have a control variant we haven't seen in a while in BUG Control.

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It's pretty amazing to see this given the state of black removal spells when compared to cards like Prismatic Ending and the like. I'm still not a fan of Hymn right now, but the rest of this is all cards I've played and have enjoyed. Counterbalance is also a cool include here.

Down the Top 32 we've got a sweet list in a Paradigm Shift/Thought Lash deck.

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Cemetery Illuminator acting as a mini Future Sight effect is pretty sweet when you consider the interaction with Thought Lash letting you see the top card so you can control if you want the card or not by either casting it (if it's a type you exiled with Illuminator) or by drawing it with a cantrip. Super cool list.

Also near the bottom of the Top 32 is a sweet 4C Ephemerate list.

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The blink value here is definitely insane. Most of this deck is legal in Modern outside of a few choice things (Spellseeker and the cantrip/counter-suite specifically). Very cool list for sure.

Around the Web

  • 1MrLee has a spicy Planeswalker Prison deck for us, so check that out here.
  • Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
  • Our good friends at Playing With Power have a new video on SharkStill vs Imperial Painter. Check that out here.
  • Everyday Eternal dropped a new episode! Check it out over here.
  • Our good friend Peter van der Ham has his ratings for Innistrad: Crimson Vow, so check those out here.
  • 90sMTG has got ForceOfPhil up on the track with UW Stoneblade vs 4C Control at Gamestoria in NYC. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

Don't have a bunch this week, but we do have Mono Black Worldgorger Combo.

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Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! Thanks for continuing to support the column and join us next week as we continue our journey into Legacy!

As always you can reach me at Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! In addition I'm always around the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the /r/MTGLegacy Discord Server and subreddit.

Until next time!

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